The Science of Science Fiction

The Science of Science Fiction

Alien civilizations, artificial intelligence, time travel—is there any truth in these exciting ideas? In The Science of Science Fiction, readers ages 12–15 explore the science behind classic and modern science fiction stories, many of which inspired today’s inventors and innovators.

  • Encourages intellectual exploration of appealing science fiction franchises such as Star Wars and Jurassic World.
  • Draws readers along critical thinking pathways as they connect science fiction to fact.
  • Provides a number of exercises in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math) that can either be done in a classroom or at home with a parent.

Price (suggested retail)

  • Softcover, $17.95
  • Hardcover, $22.95
  • eBook, $12.95

Grade Level 7–9

Ages 12–15

GRL Z

Subjects

  • Earth/Space Science
  • STEM - STEAM

More Details
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Alien civilizations, artificial intelligence, time travel—is there any truth in these exciting ideas? In The Science of Science Fiction, readers ages 12–15 explore the science behind classic and modern science fiction stories, many of which inspired today’s inventors and innovators.

  • Encourages intellectual exploration of appealing science fiction franchises such as Star Wars and Jurassic World.
  • Draws readers along critical thinking pathways as they connect science fiction to fact.
  • Provides a number of exercises in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math) that can either be done in a classroom or at home with a parent.

Archimedes Notebook 
“. . .What I really like are the hands-on investigations. You can extract your own DNA, calculate the likelihood of intelligent life in the universe, and play around with centripetal force. My favorite, though, is measuring the speed of light using a microwave, a bar of chocolate, a ruler, and a calculator. Who can resist an experiment that involves chocolate?” Read the complete review online.

Publishers Weekly
In this intriguing addition to the Inquire and Investigate series, Wood explores the science behind cloning, time travel, and other science fiction staples. . . Comics, sidebars, and experiments offer a variety of approaches to the topics (such as using a microwave and chocolate bar to calculate the speed of light), and QR codes provide links to supplemental online resources. It’s an engrossing look at how science and fiction converge and diverge.” Read the complete review online.

Booklist
“This latest addition to the award-winning Inquire and Investigate series will be a welcome acquisition for librarians wanting to spice up their STEAM collections. Accessible text, multiple subheadings, guiding questions, and follow-up activities, plus a bevy of graphics (sidebars, cartoons, fact blurbs, bulleted lists, charts, graphs, vocabulary lab exercises, scannable QR codes, primary resources), tackle six familiar science fiction themes: cloning, robots, colonizing Mars, interstellar travel, time travel, and aliens. Fictional characters, settings, and gadgets mesh with science fact and theory, making the technical going easier (and a lot more entertaining). . . an excellent way to capture students’ imaginations, whether they’re of the science and technology or literature and video-arts persuasion.”

School Library Journal
“Blockbuster hits like Star Wars and Jurassic Park have plots, settings, and technology that could exist only in the far distant future. But as science advances and new discoveries are made, fantastical sci-fi technologies might be closer to reality than one may think. This title compares fictional stories with real-life scientific breakthroughs, including artificial intelligence, cloning, space travel, and beyond. Older examples such as H.G. Wells’s The Time Machine and more contemporary movie releases like 2015’s The Martian are cited. After presenting a work of sci-fi and its fictional aspects, the author uses information and theories about the subject to explain how possible or impossible it is presently and in the future (for instance, the chances of humans traveling to Mars or cloning a woolly mammoth). Accompanying the main text on each page are additional facts, photos, and short comics infused with a bit of corny humor. . . VERDICT Jam-packed with high-interest material, this selection will be useful for science classes or literature units that cover the books mentioned within.”

Praise for other science titles in the Inquire and Investigate Series:

The Brain: Journey Through the Universe Inside Your Head

Amazon.com #1 Hot New Release in Teen & Young Adult Biology Books

Eric Chudler, Executive Director, Center for Sensorimotor Neural Engineering
“Clear writing and colorful graphics make The Brain: Journey Through the Universe Inside Your Head a terrific resource for young learners interested in learning about those three pounds of tissue in our heads.”

Forensics: Uncover the Science and Technology of Crime Scene Investigation

Winner 2013 Silver Moonbeam Children’s Book Award

Winner 2013 Society of School Librarians International Honor Book Award

Dwight E. Adams, Ph.D., Director, Forensic Science Institute, University of Central Oklahoma
“This age-appropriate book is an excellent example of both the breadth of forensic science and the amalgamation of science, art, technology, and law. It provides excellent hands-on exercises to reinforce the content.”

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look inside book
look inside book spread

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Extract Your Own DNA

In the movie Jurassic Park, biologists extract dinosaur DNA from mosquito-like bugs that were preserved for millions of years in amber. Today’s scientists have not yet turned this fiction into fact, but you can easily see your own DNA in your own home.

Click here to download a print-friendly PDF

project accent

Matthew Brenden Wood

Matthew Brenden Wood is a math and science teacher with a passion for STEAM education. He is also an avid amateur astronomer and astrophotographer. Wood holds a bachelor’s degree in astronomy from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and lives in Phoenix, Arizona.


author image

Tom Casteel

Tom Casteel is an illustrator and cartoonist with a master’s degree from the Center for Cartoon Studies. Tom has illustrated several books for Nomad Press, including Natural Disasters: Investigate Earth’s Most Destructive Forces with 25 Projects. He is working on his first graphic novel.



More Details

Grade Level: 7–9
Ages: 12–15
GRL: Z
Subjects: Earth/Space Science, STEM - STEAM,
Specs: 8 x 10 , 4-color interior , 128 pages,
Includes: Table of Contents, Timeline, Glossary, Resources, Index,

Reviews

Archimedes Notebook 
“. . .What I really like are the hands-on investigations. You can extract your own DNA, calculate the likelihood of intelligent life in the universe, and play around with centripetal force. My favorite, though, is measuring the speed of light using a microwave, a bar of chocolate, a ruler, and a calculator. Who can resist an experiment that involves chocolate?” Read the complete review online.

Publishers Weekly
In this intriguing addition to the Inquire and Investigate series, Wood explores the science behind cloning, time travel, and other science fiction staples. . . Comics, sidebars, and experiments offer a variety of approaches to the topics (such as using a microwave and chocolate bar to calculate the speed of light), and QR codes provide links to supplemental online resources. It’s an engrossing look at how science and fiction converge and diverge.” Read the complete review online.

Booklist
“This latest addition to the award-winning Inquire and Investigate series will be a welcome acquisition for librarians wanting to spice up their STEAM collections. Accessible text, multiple subheadings, guiding questions, and follow-up activities, plus a bevy of graphics (sidebars, cartoons, fact blurbs, bulleted lists, charts, graphs, vocabulary lab exercises, scannable QR codes, primary resources), tackle six familiar science fiction themes: cloning, robots, colonizing Mars, interstellar travel, time travel, and aliens. Fictional characters, settings, and gadgets mesh with science fact and theory, making the technical going easier (and a lot more entertaining). . . an excellent way to capture students’ imaginations, whether they’re of the science and technology or literature and video-arts persuasion.”

School Library Journal
“Blockbuster hits like Star Wars and Jurassic Park have plots, settings, and technology that could exist only in the far distant future. But as science advances and new discoveries are made, fantastical sci-fi technologies might be closer to reality than one may think. This title compares fictional stories with real-life scientific breakthroughs, including artificial intelligence, cloning, space travel, and beyond. Older examples such as H.G. Wells’s The Time Machine and more contemporary movie releases like 2015’s The Martian are cited. After presenting a work of sci-fi and its fictional aspects, the author uses information and theories about the subject to explain how possible or impossible it is presently and in the future (for instance, the chances of humans traveling to Mars or cloning a woolly mammoth). Accompanying the main text on each page are additional facts, photos, and short comics infused with a bit of corny humor. . . VERDICT Jam-packed with high-interest material, this selection will be useful for science classes or literature units that cover the books mentioned within.”

Praise for other science titles in the Inquire and Investigate Series:

The Brain: Journey Through the Universe Inside Your Head

Amazon.com #1 Hot New Release in Teen & Young Adult Biology Books

Eric Chudler, Executive Director, Center for Sensorimotor Neural Engineering
“Clear writing and colorful graphics make The Brain: Journey Through the Universe Inside Your Head a terrific resource for young learners interested in learning about those three pounds of tissue in our heads.”

Forensics: Uncover the Science and Technology of Crime Scene Investigation

Winner 2013 Silver Moonbeam Children’s Book Award

Winner 2013 Society of School Librarians International Honor Book Award

Dwight E. Adams, Ph.D., Director, Forensic Science Institute, University of Central Oklahoma
“This age-appropriate book is an excellent example of both the breadth of forensic science and the amalgamation of science, art, technology, and law. It provides excellent hands-on exercises to reinforce the content.”


Projects

project image

Extract Your Own DNA

In the movie Jurassic Park, biologists extract dinosaur DNA from mosquito-like bugs that were preserved for millions of years in amber. Today’s scientists have not yet turned this fiction into fact, but you can easily see your own DNA in your own home.


Click here to download a print-friendly PDF

Author-Illustrator

Matthew Brenden Wood

Matthew Brenden Wood is a math and science teacher with a passion for STEAM education. He is also an avid amateur astronomer and astrophotographer. Wood holds a bachelor’s degree in astronomy from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and lives in Phoenix, Arizona.

author image

Tom Casteel

Tom Casteel is an illustrator and cartoonist with a master’s degree from the Center for Cartoon Studies. Tom has illustrated several books for Nomad Press, including Natural Disasters: Investigate Earth’s Most Destructive Forces with 25 Projects. He is working on his first graphic novel.